Friday, 25 October 2013

Proposed closure of Bexley Archive and removal to Bromley

On the 21st of October a "public Consultation" began on the proposed closure of Bexley Archive and transfer to The Library Bromley. As a researcher in several archives in London and the South East I was concerned and wished to contribute to an exercise which ends in December. Bexley have a website and indeed a consultation team, however they have yet to post this consultation is underway or give any information about the proposal. I emailed the consultation team and have been promised by automatic responder a reply in 5-10 working days.
I became aware of the general drift to amalgamate when the Bromley Archivist post was vacated and then filled by transfer of the archivist from Bexley. There were other indicators at Bromley too.
Bexley and Bromley have a long history of united services across a range of provision and the The Library Bromley is managed by the same post as that for Bexley. All archives are under financial pressure and library closures are common to all London Boroughs.
If the public consultation is to be meaningful then it needs to be transparent. I would submit that at present it is far from that.
I am well aware of the problem of travel to Bexley Archive from my home by public transport and would like to see how the proposal addresses this issue. For those who live in Sidcup it is possible for bus journey from Sidcup to Orpington then change bus to reach Bromley. For people in the remainder of Bexley a public transport route is not apparent. That is not a sound basis for closing and removing an archive collection if the present research and user community has immense difficulty in reaching it.
Archives are publicly funded by Community charge payers and I have a series of detailed points as a regular user and contributor to Bromley Archive which I wish to contribute to the consultation process. I'll blog again when I receive a response from Bexley.